Thursday, August 15, 2013
Ian Kinsler doesn't miss this chance
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler has had two massive hits this season, the first coming in June when he jetted his way down to first base -- arms extended -- after a clutch go-ahead single in a come-from-behind victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Kinsler was at it again in Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, a comeback win that helped the Texas Rangers avoid what would have been an aggravating two-game series sweep to a team now 16 games under .500.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler made the most of his clutch opportunity Wednesday, when he put the Rangers ahead of the Brewers for good with a two-run single in the seventh inning.
The Rangers' second baseman found himself in the perfect hitting situation in the bottom of the seventh -- his team trailing 4-3, bases loaded, one out and a 2-0 count against Brewers reliever Burke Badenhop.
Time to let it rip.
Kinsler had batted as the tying run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth in Monday's 5-1 loss to the Brewers, lining out to third base to end the inning.
Kinsler, in a 1-for-20 drought with runners in scoring position, didn't let his second chance pass. He got a sinker from Badenhop and stayed on the ball and laced a line drive into left field for a 5-4 lead.
"You can't ask for more than that," Kinsler said. "Last night I got in the same situation, I got up 3-1 and hit a ball right at a guy. Tonight I was able to find a hole."
The Rangers took advantage of Milwaukee's wildness out of the bullpen to start the rally. Pinch hitter Craig Gentry set the table with a walk. Jurickson Profar followed with a walk. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke switched from reliever Michael Gonzalez to former closer John Axford, who walked pinch hitter Jeff Baker to load the bases.
Axford bounced back by striking out Leonys Martin on three pitches, but Elvis Andrus made it a one-run game with a single to left field.
That set up Kinsler for his big blow. Kinsler has two go-ahead hits in his career with the Rangers trailing in the seventh inning or later, and they've come against Oakland and Milwaukee this season. The Rangers have been much better in run-producing situations this season -- runner at third and one out.
"We didn't try to do too much," Washington said. "The only thing is we were trying to make sure we got something up in the zone and Elvis put a good swing on a pitch in the zone and so did Kinsler. Before maybe we were trying to do more than the situation dictated."
The Rangers have 37 comeback wins, the second most to Atlanta with 38. They are now 8-40 when trailing after six innings. They've been rallying late in games without the aid of a home run.
Five of their past 10 wins have come without a home run.
"That's the way we've been playing lately," Washington said. "We have some guys that are capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but when they're not doing it, we have to do it other ways. Kinsler can hit it out of the ballpark, but he stayed short in that situation and did what he needed to do."